FOOTBALL by John Gillies

Home games are prized for good reason. Gisborne Boys’ High School football teams last week experienced the problems that away games can pose.

The GBHS First XI travelled by van to Hawke’s Bay for their national tournament qualification game against Taradale High School, and influential midfielder Max Kume suffered travel sickness. He played only the closing stages of the match.

Boys’ High had the advantage in possession and shots on goal, but lost 1-0. A fit and healthy Kume might have made the difference.

Also last week, on Saturday the GBHS Junior A team travelled south for two games in division one of the Hawke’s Bay junior high school league with a squad of 13 players, which allowed for only two on the substitutes’ bench. Two squad members were carrying injuries and two more were injured during the games.

Squad strength was already depleted by injury and sickness, but reinforcements might have been possible at short notice for a home fixture. Both their opponents had full benches of five substitutes who could be rolled on and off, and Gisborne lost both games.

The First XI, playing on Wednesday, opened brightly but fell behind in the third minute. Taradale won a free kick on their right flank and crossed the ball to the far post, where their centre back scored with a header.

GBHS director of football Sebastian Itman, who as assistant coach took charge in the absence of coach Garrett Blair, said Gisborne had at least 20 shots at goal, but were up against a Taradale goalkeeper in fine form.

Right centre back Ziggy West-Hill had been ill with Covid and came off 10 minutes into the second 40-minute half. Left centre back Kaden Manderson took up the challenge and had a stormer, well supported by fullbacks Te Kani Wirepa-Hei on the right and Kyran Lasenby on the left. Hugo Lodewyk had a sound game in goal.

German international student Bela Sugar filled the central midfield role, with Xavier Priestly on the right and Matt Hills on the left. Alex Shanks played up front, with Jacob Adams and Lukas Ricard playing wide.

When West-Hill came off, Wirepa-Hei moved to right centre back and Liechtenstein international student Joel Mauchle came on at right back.

Itman refreshed the midfield and attack in the second half, bringing on Gavin Derr and Kume for Sugar and Priestly respectively, and Anton Larkins for Ricard.

“We put them under pressure all the time, but we couldn’t score,” Itman said.

“Alex Shanks came closest when his shot hit the crossbar.”

Itman said Napier Boys’ High would take one qualification spot for the premier national high school tournament and the other would go to Taradale, Lindisfarne or Gisborne. To have a chance, Gisborne would probably have to win their remaining game — against Lindisfarne — by four goals and Lindisfarne would have to beat Taradale.

The junior team lost 3-0 to Napier Boys’ High School and 6-1 to St John’s College, Hastings.

The junior games were 35 minutes each way and the Gisborne team had less than 90 minutes to recover between them. The first game started at 10.30am and the second at 1.15pm.

“Our opponents each had five players on the bench,” said Itman, who stood in for regular coach David Ure who was away playing for New Zealand at the Seniors World Cup in Thailand.

With rolling subs allowed, the Hawke’s Bay teams could refresh their ranks more efficiently than Gisborne could with only two on the bench.

“You cannot go with injured or sick players, and you need a full bench,” Itman said.

“In both games we dominated the first 10 minutes. We lost three goals in the first half against Napier Boys’ High, and 3-0 was the final score.

“Then, against St John’s College, we scored first but they played a fast game and we ran out of legs and lost 6-1.”

This was the junior team’s second two-game day of five in Hawke’s Bay. Playing two games in one day means they make five trips south instead of 10. On their first trip, last month, they beat Lindisfarne College 1-0 and Hastings Boys’ High School 6-0.

Itman sees the Hawke’s Bay league as good preparation for the Hillsdene Junior Tournament in term three.

The next trip will be on June 22, when GBHS Junior A will play Hastings Boys’ High School at 10.30am, and Havelock North High School at 1.15pm.

2024-06-12T17:18:06Z dg43tfdfdgfd